Law.com, Law School Pulls Plug on Fall Classes Amid Accreditation Crisis:
The embattled Arizona Summit Law School won’t hold classes this fall as it fights for survival.
The American Bar Association revoked the school’s accreditation in June—a decision Arizona Summit has appealed—and it informed its dwindling student body in an email late last week that it will not open as scheduled later this month. The school did not say it was closing outright, however, and maintained that it was working toward a formal “teach-out” plan that would allow existing students to complete their studies.
Asked for comment Tuesday, the school issued a statement saying that its appeal to hold onto ABA accreditation is pending. “Arizona Summit has announced to its students that there will not be classes this fall, and that Summit is negotiating with another law school for a teach out,” the statement reads.
But the school’s email to students paints a dire picture of its prospects. “As [Arizona Summit] will not be offering classes in the fall, [Arizona Summit] will not offer any scholarships going forward to any [Arizona Summit] students,” the email reads. “The [Arizona Summit] Library is not available; however, the ASU law library is open and available to the public.”
If Arizona Summit never reopens, it will be the second of InfiLaw Corp.’s three for-profit law schools to close in the span of a year. The Charlotte School of Law closed last August after losing its federal student loan eligibility and its license to operate within North Carolina. InfiLaw’s third school, Florida Coastal School of Law, remains open.
Meanwhile, the nearby Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law has agreed to accept Arizona Summit students who are within one semester of graduating as visitors this semester, said ASU assistant dean Thomas Williams. That arrangement will allow visiting students the ability to complete their legal studies and graduate with an Arizona Summit law degree, he said.
But ASU opted against admitting Arizona Summit students with fewer credits out of fear that they would be left high and dry if Arizona Summit closes shop. (Arizona Summit remains ABA accredited during the appeals process, and because a decision is not expected until October, it will be able to confer degrees in December even if its appeal is unsuccessful, according to Williams.)
Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:
- Arizona Summit Law School's Bar Passage Rate Plummets To Shocking 24.6% (Down From 96.7% In 2008) (Oct. 21, 2016)
- Arizona Summit Law School Affiliates With Bethune-Cookman University To Diversify Legal Profession Despite 25% Bar Pass Rate (Mar. 11, 2017)
- Want To Buy A Law School (or Three) On The Cheap? InfiLaw May Have A Deal For You. (Mar. 23, 2017)
- ABA Places Arizona Summit Law School On Probation Following 25% Bar Pass Rate (Mar. 28, 2017)
- NY Times Op-Ed: How To Con Black Law Students (Mar. 28, 2017)
- Under Pressure From Feds, ABA Cracks Down On Four Law Schools (Arizona Summit, Ave Maria, Charlotte, Valparaiso) (Apr. 6, 2017)
- Arizona Summit, Placed On Probation Following 25% Bar Pass Rate, Ordered To Post $1.5M Bond To Repay Students If Law School Closes; Court Dismissed Lawsuit By Fired Tenured Married Couple (May 30, 2017)
- ABA Notices To Law Schools About Potential Non-Compliance With Accreditation Standards (Oct. 31, 2017)
- Ten Law Schools Sanctioned By ABA For Lax Admissions (Nov. 22, 2017)
- WSJ: The Rise And Fall Of A Law School Empire Fueled By $1 Billion Of Federal Loans (Nov. 25, 2017)
- Tamanaha: 14 Law Schools With Attrition Rates >20% May Fail Accreditation Standard 501(b) (Admitting Students Capable Of Passing The Bar) (Jan. 3, 2018)
- ABA Finds Appalachian, Arizona Summit & North Carolina Central Law Schools Out Of Compliance With Accreditation Standards (Jan. 9, 2018)
- Second Law Prof Whistleblower Suit Against InfiLaw Unsealed (Apr. 20, 2018)
- Third Law School Represented By Kirkland & Ellis Sues ABA Alleging Arbitrary Enforcement Of Accreditation Standards (May 25, 2018)
- ABA Moves To Consolidate Accreditation Lawsuits By Three InfiLaw Schools In Multidistrict Litigation (June 9, 2018)
- ABA Pulls Arizona Summit Law School's Accreditation (June 11, 2018)
- Kirkland & Ellis Booted From Arizona Summit's Lawsuit Against The ABA (July 12, 2018)
- Arizona Summit Law School in Talks With Arizona State To Take Students If School Loses Accreditation (July 30, 2018)